May 12, 2011–New York
by Rawlinsview and Press Agencies
Leaders of the movement to form a democratic republic facing trial in Bahrain entered pleas of not guilty according to press reports, as the Kalifa regime announced its intent to continue the participation of Saudi forces in the punative police operations directed mostly toward the majority Shia population there. Though the Bahraini king Hamad al Kalifa has declared his intent to end the “state of emergency” declared on March 14, 2011 which established conditions of martial law and included the invitation of Saudi and UAE forces into the country. Recent actions and statements by the Bahraini governement make it clear that they have no intention of loosening political controls or ceding to any of the demands raised by the massive pro democracy protests which took place early this year. Referring to statements by elements within Bahrain which continue to press demands for democratization of the country and for inquiries into widely reported violations of human rights Commander-in-Chief Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa was reported by the Bahrain News Agency as threatening, “I say to those who did not get the message, if you return we will come back stronger this time.”
According to many press reports and direct sources to this blog and a Business Week article linked below a campagin of political and punitive dismissals has continued at places of work, trades unions, medical and educational institutions in which individuals suspected of sympathy with the democracy movement and activists amongst the oppressed Shia population have been targeted and fired, arrested or dismissed as punishment for their opposition to the Monarch.
(AFP) – May 12, 2011
DUBAI — Bahraini opposition leaders pleaded not guilty in court on Thursday to charges of belonging to a terrorist group and attempting to overthrow the monarchy, state news agency BNA reported.
Fourteen out of a group of 21 defendants appeared before a special court set up in the wake of a mid-March crackdown on Shiite-led protests demanding political reforms in the kingdom ruled by a Sunni royal family.
The other defendants who are abroad are being tried in absentia.
“They all answered not guilty” to all charges, except for Abduljalil al-Muqdad, who “admitted taking part in unauthorised demonstrations,” BNA reported.
Among those on trial is also Ibrahim Sharif, the Sunni leader of the secular group Waed, who played a prominent role in the month-long protests.
Hassan Mashaima, head of the Shiite opposition Haq movement, and Abdulwahab Hussein, who leads the Shiite Wafa Islamic Movement, as well as Shiite rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, are included in the group.
The accused are charged with “forming and directing a terrorist group aimed at overthrowing and changing the constitution of the state and the monarchy system,” according to the chargesheet. [For the full article by AFP Follow this link]
Gulf forces to stay in Bahrain after emergency ends Friday, 13 May 2011 03:16
From The Peninsula
DUBAI: Saudi-led forces will remain in Bahrain after a state of emergency is lifted next month, the head of Bahrain’s military said, as the Gulf state continues to clamp down on protests.
Separately, a Western lawyer and an observer from an international human rights group were banned from attending the trial yesterday of 21 mostly Shia activists charged with attempting to topple the government.
Gulf Arab forces would remain in Bahrain “in anticipation of any foreign threat”, Commander-in-Chief Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa was reported as saying by the state news agency BNA.
He warned protesters against returning to the streets. “I say to those who did not get the message, if you return we will come back stronger this time.”
The Associated Press May 11, 2011
Bahrain oil company fires hundreds over protests
Bahrain’s energy minister says that the Gulf kingdom’s oil company has fired almost 300 employees in recent weeks for taking part in anti-government protests and general strikes.
Abdulhussain bin Ali Mirza, who also serves as the chief executive of the state-owned Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) says 293 employees have been dismissed since the king declared martial law on March 15 to quell weeks of demonstrations by the country’s Shiite majority who are demanding greater freedoms.
Mirza also told lawmakers on Tuesday that 50 employees were suspended pending investigations by authorities and 11 board members of the workers union were referred to the general prosecutor.
BAPCO produces 250,000 barrels per day.
Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.